Khan tidy, but Superstars break Tigers hearts
A TIDY spell from Trinidad and Tobago Red Force leg-spinner Imran Khan failed to inspire Manipal Tigers, and Southern Superstars grabbed their first win in the Legends League on Monday in India in a tense finish.
The 39-year-old, the most successful Red Force bowler in the West Indies Championship, ended with two for 24 from his allotted four overs, but Superstars successfully chased 125 to win the Twenty20 contest with two balls remaining at the Molana Azad Stadium. Khan snared the scalp of Upul Tharanga for 30 in his second over after the former Sri Lanka batsman shared 60 inside the first 11 overs with former New Zealand all-rounder Jesse Ryder to give the innings a firm base. Five wickets fell for 30 between the 11th and 17th overs – including former India international Rajesh Bishnoi to Khan for 11 – and the Superstars’ chase was in disarray on 90 for five.
But Pawan Negi made 25 not out, including hitting two fours and a six off successive balls from discarded Sri Lanka pacer Thisara Perera in the final over that cost 18, to take Superstars over the finish line in a dramatic finish.
Shreevats Goswami was 19 not out, and he shared 30 unbroken with for the sixth wicket with Negi that gave Superstars their maiden win in three tries and places them fifth in the six-team tournament that features a galaxy of former international players.
It was the first defeat for Tigers in the tournament, but they still lead the standings with four points from two wins in their three matches.
Earlier, Khan, who has one hundred and 15 half-centuries in 113 first-class matches, made only seven before he was stumped off the left-arm spin of Negi in the penultimate over after the Tigers won the toss and chose to bat.
Discarded Sri Lanka batsman Angelo Perera hit the top score of 47 not out from 34 balls and former Zimbabwe batsman Hamilton Masakadza made 26, as the Tigers laboured to 125 for nine from their allotted 20 overs.
Negi, former South Africa off-spinner Johan Botha, and former Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak took two wickets apiece.